Why not artificial turf Los Gatos? Everybody else is doing it.

Students at LGUSD's Lexington Elementary practice, as explained at ibo.org, being knowledgeable,  open-minded, reflective, critical thinkers.

As educators and parents, we know that "everybody else is doing it" is not a valid justification for anything.

And, just like we all tell our kids:  In actuality, it is NOT true that "everybody else is doing it"...

How does that lesson apply here?

Schools and municipalities are NOT all following the masses, succumbing to sales pitches, and proceeding with artificial turf installations.

Some are pausing to ask themselves if this is really a wise choice?  Especially in light of expert insights that were not yet available back when other schools and municipalities chose to install them?  

For example, in 2005 when the Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District (LGSUHSD) installed one of its first artificial turf fields, it was not widely known how much lead was in some of the fields. 

As another example, in 2015 would LGHS have installed artificial turf with crumb rubber infill if their landscape architect had told them it was carcinogenic?  Note that LGHS used the same landscape architect LGUSD is currently using.  He made the comment about crumb rubber infill being carcinogenic at LGUSD's 11/18/21 board meeting.  Certainly at the time of the LGHS install, the safety of crumb rubber was highly controversial.  Even students in that district had called this out prior to both the Saratoga High School and Los Gatos High School installs.

Why didn't LGSUHSD pause?  And, in hindsight, was it a poor choice that LGSUHSD didn't pause?  

Do we know why so many others schools and municipalities haven't paused on this very serious decision?  Or were they following the masses too?  

As another example, consider that the communities and artificial turf sales teams across the country that have used San Francisco's artificial turf as an example to justify their installations neglect to mention San Francisco's decision to install artificial turf was the outcome of this cautionary tale, casting serious doubt on whether San Francisco made an impartial, well-informed decision.

Fortunately, we've reached a point now where moratoriums on artificial turf installations are actually being explored throughout the country.  In fact, this includes a progressive neighboring community of ours.  

So if LGUSD insists on following the lead of others, here are some others to consider following...

Millbrae, California

Read here:  Millbrae, California City Council has enacted a temporary ban on new artificial turf as it considers a permanent ordinance limiting its use in the city.

Curious.  Why doesn't LGUSD share the same concerns as Millbrae City Council?

Sharon, Massachusetts

Listen here to independent biomedical researcher Dr. Debbie Tatro explain why the town of Sharon, Massachusetts rejected the proposal to install  artificial turf at its school.  Dr. Tatro highlights that the following concerns led to the rejection:
  • microplastic and PFAS pollution of local lake, wetlands, and drinking water
  • long-term health effects and injuries for students
  • the plastic waste burden and fiscal burden of artificial turf
In addition, the town of Sharon enacted a 3-year moratorium on installation of artificial turf on town-owned land.  

Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

"The Oak Bluffs board of health has drafted regulations that would ban the installation, storage, and dumping of artificial turf containing PFAS."  The purpose cited with the regulation is protection of drinking water.